Teck to shutdown Metaline Falls zinc and lead mine

by Keith Powell
Aerial view of the Metaline Falls zinc and lead mine.

Metaline Falls, a zinc and lead mine owned by Teck Resources Limited. — Photo courtesy Teck

Teck's zinc and lead mine in Metaline Falls, Washington is laying off 210 workers according to various media reports including Spokane’s KREM2 News. 

KREM2 stated, “According to the Washington State Employment Security Department, workers at Teck Pend Oreille received the notice Thursday, July 11, 2019. The layoffs will begin on July 31.

Mark Brown, general manager of the facility says that, by September, the mine will have run through all of the zinc and lead that's left in the area. Decreasing metal value is what he said led to the announcement.

"We always knew it was coming. The day would come when whether through economic factors or tariffs or the market for zinc, or when the zinc itself ran out. We knew that the mine would close," said Metaline Falls Mayor Tara Leininger. "We don't know quite how the impact is going to play out. It's going to take a little bit of time for us to understand it."

"They're trying to get people jobs and hired elsewhere, like Red Dog in Alaska or anywhere else. They're trying to help the people who are being laid off," said mine worker Jack Smith.

The Pend Oreille mine is expected to exhaust its current reserves soon and mining and concentrate production will be suspended on July 31, according to Teck’s website. The mine will then be transitioned to care and maintenance.

The zinc and lead mine at Metaline Falls, Washington, just south of the Canadian/USA border, was restarted in 2014 and was the closest mine to Teck’s Trail smelter operations at about 86 kilometers.

Read the full KREM2 story here

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